OP Council gets road project back on track

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 8/8/18

ORANGE PARK – The beleaguered Kingsley East is on the road to redemption, or rather, is the road of redemption, after a decision Orange Park Town Council made last month along with the work of the …

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OP Council gets road project back on track

Posted

ORANGE PARK – The beleaguered Kingsley East is on the road to redemption, or rather, is the road of redemption, after a decision Orange Park Town Council made last month along with the work of the town’s Public Works department and contractor Besch and Smith.

During the town’s July regular meeting, held on July 17, the council listened to Town Manager Sarah Campbell address what was at the time, the elephant in the room: Kingsley East. Without hesitation, Campbell jumped right into the issue and explained that it has been addressed and will be fixed.

“We can get into specifics if you want but the big picture is, ‘we get it,’,” Campbell said. “We don’t intend to provide you with a bad product. We’re on it. We were on it as soon as it was raised to my attention yesterday afternoon and we’ve had three or four meetings on it in the last 24 hours.”

That discussion continued on for quite a while and forced the council to extend the meeting by an additional 15 minutes. The discussion, which saw tensions rise so high that Town Attorney Sam Garrison had to step in to remind the council where their jurisdiction begins and ends, ended with a 5-0 vote to hire an engineering inspector not affiliated with the council to take a deeper look at the work completed thus far.

During the Aug. 7 regular council meeting, the council received an update on the project. They learned that Jacksonville-based consulting engineering company, Eisman and Russo Inc., is on the job, have been for some time and will continue to be.

“We hired a CEI, Certified Engineering Inspector, from Eisman and Russo Inc., for Kingsley East, Plainfield Avenue and River Road, so they are on-site working and the contractor has repaired and removed all of the bad concrete work that they had,” Campbell said.

The purpose of this CEI is simple: supervision. Their job is to not only investigate the work already completed, which they have, but to maintain supervision over the job to ensure that the rest of the work is completed properly.

“They’ll be on-site through the duration of the job,” Campbell said. “They make sure that the plans are being complied with and that proper construction techniques are being used.”

This project began after the council signed a $1.1 million contract with Stone Engineering, who designed the project, and Besch and Smith, who served as the contractor. The goal of the project is to remodel a stretch of Kingsley Avenue that has been dubbed Kingsley East – the section from U.S. Highway 17/Park Avenue to the river. A repaving of the road is finally set to begin this week, although nothing is official until the CEI gives confirmation that the paving can begin.

“We believe they’re ready to pave this week,” Campbell said. “We’ll wait on confirmation from our CEI, but we don’t have any indication that paving won’t proceed this week.”

Assuming everything goes well, the paving should be complete by the time school begins next week, giving parents driving their kid to school a nice, smooth and a freshly-paved street to drive on.

Kingsley East has been in the works for the past six years and was not funded until the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30.

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